Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Vonn Zandus — Unimortal
(Apollon Records ARP072, 2023, CD / DL)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2023-09-26
Vonn Zandus, the newest solo venture from Joe Burns, the creative force behind Guranfoe and Jomo Tuun, has released his debut album, Unimortal. Born out of the solitude of the 2020 pandemic lockdown, this album is a testament to Burns’ resilience and creativity during a time of global uncertainty. Unimortal is an eclectic mix of synthesizers, drums, marimba, and glockenspiel, all cleverly woven together to create a unique progressive soundscape. I am not exactly sure what the word unimortal means, but the first two tracks are “Unimortal I” and “Unimortal II,” and he reversed the spelling for track 3, “Latrominu,” but the music is not reversed. Then he scrambled the letters for track 4, “Orin Talum.” The final two track titles do not appear to be derived from unimortal: “Tulia Morphic” and “Too Beyond.” “Unimortal I,” on initial listening, does sound interesting in an avant rock / prog rock sense with its throbbing beat. The grooves shift, but after eight minutes the music looses some of its luster. And that carries over seamlessly to “Unimortal II,” which if you are not paying close attention to, you won’t even detect that a new track has started. After another six minutes and a second seamless segue, “Latrominu” begins with more of the same. Thankfully this track only lasts about two minutes. Finally Burns shifts gears a bit with “Orin Talum,” but once again he goes too long with his homogenous sonic textures, riffs, etc. The final two tracks have a more analog sound, but nothing new or exciting happens here. This has all been done decades ago, so it sounds dated. The note sequences are too short, the compositions too simplistic, and the constant synth noodling can get on your nerves. While Unimortal may not be to everyone’s taste, it is undeniably a testament to Burns’ commitment to his craft, and his willingness to push his musical boundaries. Whether you find the music engaging or not, there’s no denying the skill and dedication that went into Unimortal's creation.
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